Just twenty years ago, most children and teenagers were still walking to school every day, also spending the bulk of their pastime playing outdoors. However, things have changed dramatically within one generation: TV, computers, game consoles, smartphones and legions of electronic media now provide what youngsters consider as genuine entertainment. Moreover, society, these days forced to focus more and more on Health and Safety issues, inadvertently promotes keeping children indoors, favouring, if any, regimented “safe” physical activities over imaginative play. Parental fears, together with the decline in natural areas and the lure of the screen result in many children never having the opportunity to explore and experience nature.
Richard Louv, US-based journalist and writer, has even coined a medical term for the chronic lack of contact with nature and environment in today’s children: nature deficit disorder. “It’s a problem because kids who don’t get nature-time seem more prone to anxiety depression and attention deficit problems,” states Louv. A connection that also seems to be increasingly supported by a number of recent clinical studies.
Bringing children back in contact with nature at an early age is one of the core objectives of the operators of AvaTarZ Nature Park who are currently extending their ECO climbing forest at their venue in Oldenzaal which also features nature trails, various sport facilities, as well as magic and mythology themed tours. “Combining outdoor time with physical activity, providing kids with a modest challenge, intensifies the nature experience and creates a lasting awareness of…
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